Volume-outcome correlation in adrenal surgery-an ESES consensus statement

Langenbecks Arch Surg. 2019 Nov;404(7):795-806. doi: 10.1007/s00423-019-01827-5. Epub 2019 Nov 7.


Background: Published data in the last decade showed that a majority of adrenal operations are done by surgeons performing only one such case per year and based on the distribution of personal workloads 'high-volume' surgeons are defined as those doing 4 or more cases/year.

Purpose: This paper summarises literature data identified by a working group established by the European Society of Endocrine Surgeons (ESES). The findings were discussed during ESES-2019 conference and members agreed on a consensus statement.

Results: The annual of adrenal operations performed yearly in individual countries was reported to be 800/year in UK and over 1600/year in France. The learning curve of an individual surgeon undertaking laparoscopic, retroperitoneoscopic or robotic adrenalectomy is estimated to be 20-40 cases. Preoperative morbidity and length of stay are more favourable in high-volume centres.

Conclusion: The main recommendations are that adrenal surgery should continue only in centres performing at least 6 cases per year, surgery for adrenocortical cancer should be restricted to centres performing at least 12 adrenal operations per year, and an integrated multidisciplinary team should be established in all such centres. Clinical information regarding adrenalectomies should be recorded prospectively and contribution to the established EUROCRINE and ENSAT databases is strongly encouraged. Surgeons wishing to develop expertise in this field should seek mentorship and further training from established adrenal surgeons.

Keywords: Adrenalectomy; Learning curve; Volume-outcome.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenalectomy / education
  • Adrenalectomy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Clinical Competence / statistics & numerical data
  • Correlation of Data
  • France
  • Hospitals, High-Volume / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Learning Curve
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Societies, Medical
  • United Kingdom